A runaway teenager spent a five-hour flight hidden in the wheel well of a plane flying from California to Hawaii, surviving freezing temperatures of -62C.
The 16-year-old boy, who has not been named, is thought to have passed out almost immediately as the plane took off, soaring to 38,000 feet, but regained consciousness at the Kahului airport in Maui, Hawaii.
He jumped out of the plane, and proceeded to wander around the tarmac where he was found by officials.
A 16-year-old boy, seen sitting on a stretcher center, who stowed away in the wheel well of a flight, loaded into an ambulance at Kahului Airport
Security footage from the San Jose airport in California showed that the boy jumped the fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines flight 45
FBI special agent Tom Simon told the Maui News: "'Kid's lucky to be alive. There was no appearance of any special gear of any sort. He was unconscious for the lion's share of the flight."
The boy, who is fit and healthy and now in the care of child services "doesn't even remember the flight," Simon said. "It's amazing he survived that."
Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement that airline personnel had noticed the boy on the tarmac and called security. "Our primary concern now is for the wellbeing of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," the statement added.
As the plane soars at 18,000 feet, the oxygen supply becomes so scarce that the boy would have lost consciousness. Above 33,000 feet, a person would normally need artificial help to expand and contract, and to survive the extremely low temperatures.
It is not the first time a teenage boy has survived hidden in the wheel well of a flight, but is certainly one of the longest on record. A 14-year-old Nigerian was found hiding in the wheel well of a domestic flight in August, surviving a flight of 45-minutes.
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